Today marks the end of National Marriage Week USA. It is no accident that its culmination falls on Valentine’s Day, which has long been regarded as a day to celebrate love. Indeed, love is a great gift; even more, love is “the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (Catechism, no. 1604). Every man and woman, created in the image of a God who is Love, is called to the vocation of love.
Reflecting on the gift of love moves us to reflect on the gift of marriage, which is a unique and privileged instance of love. As our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), among the many meanings given to the word “love” today, “one in particular stands out: love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness. This would seem to be the very epitome of love” (no. 2).
Marriage is indeed a great gift, and a great witness to the beauty of love. The lifelong, life-giving bond formed between husband and wife is a great good not only for them, but also for any children who come from their union, and for all of society. As National Marriage Week USA draws to a close, I encourage each of you to continue praying that all in our nation would recognize and protect the unique beauty of marriage.
May the Lord bless you abundantly,
Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
Bishop of Oakland
Chairman, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage